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Chain Gang All Stars

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOK OF THE YEAR • FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION • A READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Two top women gladiators fight for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America’s own in this explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Friday Black • LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE

“Like Orwell’s 1984 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Adjei-Brenyah’s book presents a dystopian vision so…illuminating that it should permanently shift our understanding of who we are and what we’re capable of doing.” —The Washington Post

“This book will change you!...A masterpiece.” —Jenna Bush Hager, The Today Show’s #ReadWithJenna

She felt their eyes, all those executioners…

Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker are the stars of the Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly popular, highly controversial profit-raising program in America’s increasingly dominant private prison industry. It’s the return of the gladiators, and prisoners are com­peting for the ultimate prize: their freedom.
In CAPE, prisoners travel as Links in Chain- Gangs, competing in death matches before packed arenas with righteous protestors at the gates. Thur­war and Staxxx, both teammates and lovers, are the fan favorites. And if all goes well, Thurwar will be free in just a few matches, a fact she carries as heavily as her lethal hammer. As she prepares to leave her fellow Links, Thurwar considers how she might help preserve their humanity, in defiance of these so-called games. But CAPE’s corporate own­ers will stop at nothing to protect their status quo, and the obstacles they lay in Thurwar’s path have devastating consequences.
Moving from the Links in the field to the protestors, to the CAPE employees and beyond, Chain-Gang All-Stars is a kaleidoscopic, excoriating look at the American prison system’s unholy alli­ance of systemic racism, unchecked capitalism, and mass incarceration, and a clear-eyed reckoning with what freedom in this country really means from a “new and necessary American voice” (Tommy Orange, The New York Times Book Review).

161 Reviews

Thinking Face“Wowie zowie I love this book. The perfect blend of sci-fi, suspense, love & found family, and harsh truths of the penal system. The footnotes throughout the book served as excellent and humbling reminders of the injustices within the justice system, citing real codes, policies, facts, and people. Say their names. This book will make you look out at the world and also inwardly to ask the hard questions like who is good who is bad who deserves to be punished who deserves to be loved, but most importantly where is life precious. The only reason it's not a full 5 stars for me is purely because I wanted more, more book, more continuum of the characters, more closure in the end”
Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenFast-pacedRealistic settingHeartbreakingThought-provokingRacismSelf-harmViolence
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“This book is a feat. You will have so much reckoning with your own thoughts on what the true essence of humanity is and whether any of us are truly deserving of high cruelty. The anecdotes sprinkled throughout in footnotes that detail true statistics on our current prison industrial complex remind you that this book is not a work of pure fiction. Incredibly written and enthralling. Should be required reading for all.”
Believable charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenAddictiveImmersive settingThought-provokingRacismViolence
Loudly Crying Face“This book broke my heart, scared me to a potential future that could be possible actually. very well written. really invest in the characters. the facts in the side notes are horrifying”
Diverse charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenDescriptive writingOriginal writingAddictiveSuspensefulDark settingThought-provokingAbuse
Loudly Crying Face“Chain-Gang All-Stars is an incredibly effective satire full of brilliant observations! Though the realm of pay-per-view bloodsports is a slightly exaggerated version of the current U.S., much of this novel is ripped right from reality. I loved Adjei-Brenyah's use of footnoted facts that prove that. It's terrifyingly easy to imagine the book's world as being in our own near future. I also loved the deeply empathetic & complex characters. Thurwar, Staxx, Craft, & Hendrix will each stay with me for quite some time. The absolutely brutal, heartbreaking moments throughout wouldn't have been nearly as effective if the characters hadn't felt so real. My only criticism: I think there were a few too many characters given a 1st person perspective.”
Believable charactersMulti-layered charactersBeautifully written
Surprised Face with Open Mouth“I feel like this is the most relevant book I’ve read in a really long time. This should be required reading. Wow, just wow. One that I just know I’ll reread!”
Multi-layered charactersDescriptive writingOriginal writingDark settingThought-provoking

About Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

NANA KWAME ADJEI-BRENYAH is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. His work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. He was a National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honoree, the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the Saroyan Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book, along with many other honors. Raised in Spring Valley, New York, he now lives in the Bronx.

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